The exhibition of Russian artist Katya Shadkovskaya is dedicated to Yeltsin Death Brigade – a grassroots subcultural movement that appeared in Saint-Petersburg in 2014. The members of the group combine the style of thinking of skinheads and “the street” with a strong social message. The group defines itself as an opposition to every status quo – be it political, cultural or mental, which means that right-wing organizations consider them as adepts of left-wing ideas, and vice versa, left-wingers see YDB as a manifestation of right-wing ideas. They express their desire to free themselves from the social norms of moral hypocrisy through absurd exaggeration and contrast, without sparing either the society or themselves. YDB refer to the time of Yeltsin since they see a vacuity between the Soviet mentality and the fledgling capitalism in the post-Soviet space.
The “Yeltsinists” subversively call the time of fundamental internal and political changes, which brought a sense of chaos to the masses, “freedom” – something the contemporary Russia has a great longing for. YDB is a “trolling” formation balancing between wit and seriousness, mockery and criticism, insensitivity and “bad taste”. The group proposes total social destruction, seeing the liberating need for destruction as an opportunity to restore order.
Katya Shadkovska – artist, curator. She studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (2001-2006). In 2009, she graduated from post diploma studies in museology and curatorship at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. Since 2017, she has been a student of the PhD programme at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. In the years 2012-2014, she co-founded Polityczna Propaganda (Political Propaganda) magazine. She is involved in socially engaged art, art therapy and popularization of pro-social activities among socially excluded people. Since 2013, Shadkovska has worked in a number of treatment centers for addicts, prisons and educational centers. She is also active in the field of co-operation between Poland and Eastern European countries.
The exhibition is part of the program The coffees I will not have, co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, from the Fund for Promotion of Culture, and by the City of Szczecin.